Celebrate #SocialSaturday in South-West and Mid Wales
Saturday 13 September 2014 is Social Saturday, a UK-wide campaign run by Social Enterprise UK to encourage people to buy from social enterprises.
So how can you join in and support social enterprises in South West and Mid Wales? Here are my top tips:
- Experience history at Llanelly House
Explore a past that includes world-class industrialists, renowned collectors of fine arts, intriguing architecture and changing building styles at Llanelly House in Llanelli. The Llanelly House Project begun with the 2003 BBC ‘Restoration’ series, championed by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. With its doors now open once more, Carmarthenshire Heritage Regeneration Trust aims to offer a unique experience to visitors
- Take a tour of Picton Castle
Why not enjoy a tour of Picton Castle, Gallery and Gardens in Haverfordwest? Picton Castle is a mix of fortified manor house and fully developed medieval castle. The Castle’s grounds comprise of 40 acres of some of the most beautiful woodland gardens and grounds in West Wales.
- Break your fast at Phoenix Community Centre Café
Take a trip to the top of the ‘Hill to try breakfast at the Phoenix Centre’s great value community café in Townhill, overlooking Swansea. The cafe has been the heart of the Phoenix Centre since the day it was built.
- View works of art at King Street Gallery
King Street Gallery is an artist run co-operative gallery, set up for members to show and sell their own work. They have around 30 members and mount regular selling exhibitions of their work every two months. They also have a gallery for visiting artists. You’ll find them located on the ground floor of 33 King Street, in the heart of the historical market town of Carmarthen.
- Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
The Torch Theatre was established in 1977 and is one of only three building-based producing theatres in Wales. On Saturday 13th September, the annual Milford Haven Music Festival returns to the theatre with the hugely popular Côr Meibion De Cymru (The South Wales Male Choir). If choral music isn’t your thing they have an extensive programme of drama and cinema throughout the year.
- Serve an ace at Swansea Tennis Centre
Swansea Tennis Centre is the only pay and play tennis centre in South Wales. The site is managed by TS365 – the first social enterprise to run a tennis centre in the UK. They offer courses, four indoor and four outdoor tennis courts and have recently opened a new facility, the Ace Fitness Suite.
- Try out some local produce at Llanmadoc Community Shop
Llanmadoc Siop y Bobl was established as a volunteer co-operative in 2007 as a response to the needs of the community in North Gower. It provides a wide range of products from fresh goods, home baking, post office and coffee shop. It buys its produce and goods from local producers or suppliers, helping to keep them in business and retaining income in the area. If you are exploring the beautiful Northern half of Gower, this shop is well worth a visit.
- Taste sensations at Tapestri
Located on the corner of Orchard Street and Alexandra Road, Tapestri can be found inside Llys Glas, one of Swansea City’s most iconic buildings. The modern, vibrant café bar is an affordable place to socialise by day and a relaxed bistro by night. Tapestri is operated by Gwalia Housing Association. It’s a great place to meet up with friends or just relax with a cup of your favourite coffee.
- Consider contemporary arts and crafts at the Waterfront Gallery, Milford Haven
The Waterfront Gallery is set in a superb quayside location in Milford Haven Docks, Pembrokeshire. The gallery showcases some of the best artists and craft workers in West Wales. There is a permanent selection of regular exhibitors alongside a changing programme of exhibitions throughout the year.
- Work out at Celtic Leisure
Did you know that the company which runs leisure centres in Neath-Port Talbot is a social enterprise? Why not go for a swim, take part in a fitness class, or visit the health suite at one of its eight professional, customer focused and accessible leisure centres.
- Try something new at LC2, 360 café and Simply Gym
The company that runs the LC2 in Swansea, two Simply Gyms and Simply Play in Gorseinon is also a social enterprise. From fitness to climbing, surfing to soft play, a range of activities are all available through Bay Leisure. If that sounds too tiring, why not try stand up paddle-boarding or maybe just relax with a nice cuppa at 360 Beach and Watersports Café on the Swansea Beach front?
- Book a stay at The Level Crossing in Llandovery
The Level Crossing is a new business with a social difference – encouraging visitors to this beautiful part of Carmarthenshire, whilst providing employment and training opportunities to the local community. Located near to Llandovery Station on the beautiful Heart of Wales Railway, “The Level Crossing” aptly describes both its position and social aims. As a Community Interest Company, it also aims to benefit the interests of all in Llandovery.
- Experience the benefit of community ownership in Cardigan town centre
Local community regeneration body ‘4CG’ has worked tirelessly to boost business in Cardigan town centre. From a community owned car park, offering more affordable spaces to shoppers, to more local producers selling their goods – a shopping visit to Cardigan is now a truly local one.
- Newport Arts Collective Gallery
This collective of dedicated art and craft makers lives and works in and around Newport, Pembrokeshire. The collective’s gallery is entirely run by its members and showcases a unique selection of art and craft.
- Tenby Museum & Art Gallery
The Social Saturday cultural trip continues with the oldest independent museum in Wales. Established in 1878, the Tenby Museum & Art Gallery continues to develop its collections and displays to preserve and promote the history of the town, giving a sense of place and heritage to both local people and visitors. The museum is a registered charity and its President is well-known broadcaster and author, Jamie Owen.
- Buy a Big Issue
If you can’t make it to any of the great social enterprises listed, you could simply buy a copy of the Big Issue. One of the UK’s best known social enterprises, the Big Issue offers people who are homeless the opportunity to earn their own money; a livelihood.
The Social Saturday campaign started in Wales in 2013 so it’s really exciting to see it rolled out across the UK. Last year, social enterprises all over Wales took part to showcase the best of what they do.
If you’ve got any other ideas about how to support social enterprises for Social Saturday, let us know via Twitter (@WalesCoopCentre). Whatever you do to celebrate Social Saturday, don’t forget to share your experiences on twitter using the hashtag #socialsaturday.
*Please check individual websites for details of opening times and locations